In today’s digitized world, billions of people use their mobile devices to perform almost any type of action they need. The top of the digital interaction list is retail and online shopping. These end customers expect that the retail mobile app they use for online shopping will provide them with the highest level of user experience, and performance.
Online shopping applications confront a lot of unique challenges not faced by other industries. The main challenges are related to providing flawless user experience.
Based on the analysis of what is most effective for our top retail customers I put together a list of our top 9 tips for testing your retail mobile app. Applying these will greatly improve your testing processes, reliability, and speed. The main benefit you should see is that you will release high-quality software at a much faster pace.
1. Test your User Experience application performance
Every industry is required to provide a perfect user experience. Nowhere else is this more true than in the ultra-competitive world of online retail. When using a retail mobile app a perfect user experience literally adds up to money in the bank.
A big part of the user experience is related to the way your application performs under different network conditions. It sums up to the time it takes the application to respond to user interactions on the device.
Mobile applications have additional areas of focus around the CPU, memory, and battery consumed.
Our analysis shows that out of the 5 stars available in app stores, 1-2 stars are related to the application performance user experience. It is therefore very important to test these parameters and make sure your application provides an awesome user experience.
2. Improve QA Environment availability
A Retail mobile app’s QA environment is complex. These environments are typically composed of multiple services that need to work together. If they don’t, and the environment demonstrates poor availability, it has an impact on the entire team’s performance.
The following two steps were found to be the most effective for our large retail customers in overcoming this challenge:
- Building a squad team that includes DevOps engineers who are aligned with the QA team’s priorities.
- Implementing service virtualization for the services that show the highest instability.
Implementing these two methods will highly improve the QA environment availability, improve team performance, and allow the faster release of high-quality apps.
3. Test data complexity
One of the unique aspects of retail applications is the dynamic and complex nature of their test data.
Having a stable automation execution process requires that the test data used will be accurate and ‘clean’. Otherwise, you will waste a major amount of time in debugging and testing issues, rather than design/programming issues.
The key to solving this, based on our experience with large retail customers, is in applying these two methods:
- Implementation of service virtualization can help to address test data challenges.
- Use Rest API interfaces to configure and collect the current relevant test data.
These two solutions will help assure that test data is always valid, and minimize the time invested in investigating testing issues.
4. Combine API in your UI functionality tests
When looking into functional tests we divide the process into code writing and test execution. The code writing part of the process breaks down into two different tasks test preparation and setup. We have found that typically the test configuration process takes up more than half of the time spent on writing code and executing tests.
This process of test development and execution is the cause of more than 50% of test failures. This puts code writing far and away ahead of any other factor as the cause of flaky tests.
To solve this, we highly recommended that you combine an API with functional UI testing. Implementing this will eliminate setup overhead, and allow for your functional tests to stay short, atomic, and focused.
5. Test for Retail mobile app specific scenarios
Online shopping applications introduce some specific scenarios that are unique for the retail industry and are not very common in other industries, such as personalization, localization, and dynamic reach data.
Among those scenarios personalization is the hardest to test as it’s usually backed up with machine learning algorithms.
The approach our customers take to test their retail-specific scenarios is to test it first to separate the visual layer testing from the functional logic layer. Test the functional logic layer (the algorithm) on a statistical basis and not using single scenarios.
6. Build a fast feedback pipeline
Building a fast feedback pipeline is important for every industry but it is especially important in a retail mobile app testing environment.
The overall testing challenges and the environment, which is sometimes unfriendly for QA, make a fast feedback pipeline a necessity.
7. Handle device fragmentation
A wide range of different people use shopping applications. Different people with different needs means that they are using a wide range range of different devices that vary in operating systems, versions, screen sizes, manufacturers, and more.
It’s of the utmost importance, to test your application on a wide matrix of devices and browsers.
8. Test for accessibility
Accessibility testing is important due to the need for organizations to be kind and inclusive, and because it can increase the application revenue by more than 10% by making it available for people with disabilities.
Therefore, testing for accessibility has become a necessity, assuring the application is in line with regulations, standards, and expectations.
9. Test in the cloud
QA is a very challenging task by itself. On top of that, testing in a retail environment introduces additional challenges, mainly due to the application’sand the environment’s complexity.
The good news is that many of the ‘IT’ challenges around maintaining a lab of devices, can be removed by testing in the cloud, despite some security challenges it may introduce.
Maintaining an on-premise lab of devices is a very complex task. A SaaS environment provides a significant improvement in scale, improves time to market (especially for supporting new devices modules and versions), and improves device availability SLA.
Implementing these 9 tips, based on Experitest’s vast experience with leading international retail mobile apps, and our analysis of what works for them will let you rest assured that you are providing high-quality apps to your customers in a timely manner.